LookSee Build – recruiting construction talent for NZ

This blog post is written by Ariana Stuart, a senior associate in Kensington Swan’s Construction and Major Projects team. 

With resources within the construction industry dwindling, a group of private companies and public organisations are launching a new campaign ‘LookSee Build’ in October targeting global construction talent to fill the immediate and short-term skills gaps identified in New Zealand.

The campaign is being run by recruitment firm HainesAttract (which ran a similar project earlier in 2017 for IT jobs in Wellington) and Workhere New Zealand.  HainesAttract director Hamish Price is hoping that every major construction player in New Zealand will be involved as the campaign tries to future-proof the construction industry against a level of infrastructure build that NZ has not yet seen.

LookSee Build will target candidates from the UK and Ireland and other selected markets and will offer candidates a “range of quintessential Kiwi experiences” like bungy jumping and weekends away to draw people to NZ. The campaign hopes to attract some of the additional 2,282 higher-skilled jobs that MBIE estimates are needed to meet current demand, which predates the election infrastructure promises. Recently, National has promised a further $14.36 billion in infrastructure spending (including 10 new roads of national significance, transport and commuter rail and housing) with Labour pledging to spend $8.4 billion on large rail projects, regional transport initiatives and housing. Both policies will require substantially more resources.

Auckland Transport has signed up to the campaign, with its chief infrastructure officer Greg Edmonds commenting that the scale of construction, particularly in Auckland, is unprecedented and requires unique procurement solutions.  Edmonds is of the view that the market is difficult even for the largest construction companies, and a whole of industry approach is required for skills procurement –  it is not about New Zealand companies competing against each other; this is about New Zealand competing against Dubai and Singapore for the best global construction talent.

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